China’s securities regulator seeks to support market confidence

China’s securities regulator unveiled a series of measures to aid the country’s struggling stock market, saying it would encourage funds to help ease liquidity difficulties at listed companies, and would support share buy-backs.

Liu Shiyu, Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) also said the regulator would encourage private equity funds to buy shares in listed firms and speed up approval for mergers and acquisitions, according to a statement on the CSRC’s official website.

Liu also announced measures to aid private-run businesses, saying the regulator would support the issuance of high-yield bonds and other debt instruments by small and medium-sized companies, and would encourage asset managers to launch funds that invest in equity or debt of private companies.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 2.9 percent on Thursday amid worries about the levels of borrowing in the stock market and broader concerns over economic growth. Shanghai stocks extended their declines in early trading on Friday, hitting the lowest level since November 2014.

An increasing number of companies face margin calls as share prices fall.

More than 637 billion shares worth 4.44 trillion yuan ($639.86 billion) were pledged for loans as of Oct. 12, according to Reuters’ calculations based on data from the China Securities Depository and Clearing.

Liu said that regulators encourage various types of investors, including funds run by local governments, private equity funds, and wealth management products managed by brokerages, to help ease liquidity difficulties at listed companies with pledged shares.

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